RELIEVED Hucknall Town announced to the footballing world that the worst of their cash crisis is over.
And they are praying that the news paves the way for fresh investors and sponsors to come forward to lift the amateur millstone from the club’s neck.
The Yellows have been on the brink of oblivion since the end of last season when it was disclosed that, thanks to extraordinary mismanagement, they owed more than £80,000 in VAT to HM Revenue And Customs (HMRC).
A public appeal raised about £50,000 and after much to-ing and fro-ing, they finally agreed a deal with HMRC to pay off the money over a certain period.
The guarantee forced the club to relinquish its semi-professional status, meaning manager Tommy Brookbanks and his players would no longer be paid.
But now Town have issued an official statement, through former chairman Brian Holmes, saying they had “resolved their tax affairs and made a substantial payment to HMRC”.
The statement goes on: “We will continue as an amateur club for at least this season as finances recover. But changes made to the club’s operations by the chief executive, Liz Morley, have increased the revenue, and the future of the club is on an upward trend.
“We wish to thank our supporters and the local community for generous support to the club’s share-purchase proposals. We intend to extend that scheme as the club changes from a private members’ club to a limited company.
“With this, we are also seeking new investors and, hopefully, a major investor to take on the continued development of the club.
“The move to a new stadium across the road from the existing ground is still going forward and planning permission has been obtained.
“Any new investor would become involved in a major property development opportunity as the club progresses its move to an exciting future.
“Interested parties should contact president Brian Holmes at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Adding meat to the bones of the statement, Morley stressed that the VAT debt had not yet been paid in its entirety but that HMRC were happy with the settlement agreement.
“The club will soon be in a much healthier financial position,” she said. “So we want to get the message out that problems have been resolved.
“Significant savings have been made and we have tightened our belts.
“Unfortunately the football side has had to suffer. But we just need this season to get back on our feet.
“In a season’s time, we will be a financially stable, solidly-run football club — and no-one could wish for any more in the circumstances.”
Morley also disclosed that manager Brookbanks is no longer beholden to his three-year contract with the club. As well as waiving his wages, he has also signed away the deal, which had two years still to run. And the chief executive is full of praise for the way in which Brookbanks has soldiered on.
“On the field, what Tommy and the players have done so far this season is absolutely fantastic,” Morley said.
“It is much more than we could have hoped for. It’s a shame we can’t reward them but, hopefully, next season, we will be able to operate with a small playing budget.”
Town have still to re-arrange their annual general meeting to elect a new chairman after the resignation of Dave Gamble.
And they have suffered another blow with the decision of their main sponsor, Hucknall firm Doff Portland, to sever their ties with the club.
But Morley says she is sure Town can now start moving forward with confidence and kick on with administrative re-organisation, new sponsorship deals and fundraising.
“We now have a bit a of breathing space,” she continued. “Revenue is increasing. For instance, profits from sales at the Talk Of The Town social club are at an all-time high. And our doors are always open to offers of new investment.
“We are all very optimistic about the future.”